From a health standpoint, intermittent fasting is useful – especially for the general population who are not very active and struggling with metabolic diseases.
⚠️ However, if you’re adding intermittent fasting on top of exercise, you aren’t gaining any extra benefits.
❗️ In fact, if you’re a woman, adding intermittent fasting on top of exercise can be harmful to both your performance and your health. ❗️
💥 Women are more sensitive to kisspeptin, neuropeptide that’s responsible for sex hormones and endocrine and reproductive function. Diets such as intermittent fasting and keto disrupt kisspeptin production.
It comes down to kisspeptin, is a neuropeptide that’s responsible for sex hormones and endocrine and reproductive function, which also plays a significant role in maintaining healthy glucose levels, appetite regulation, and body composition. It’s also more sensitive in women than men. When it gets perturbed, our sex hormones aren’t produced and released the way we need them to be.
Intermittent fasting and keto both disrupt kisspeptin production. When our brain perceives we have a deficiency in nutrients, especially carbohydrate, we have a marked reduction in kisspeptin stimulation, which not only increases our appetite, but also reduces our sensitivity to insulin. This is why research shows intermittent fasting is more likely to cause impaired glucose intolerance in women, but not men.
What happens when we layer exercise stress on top of the stress of denying our bodies an important fuel source? Stress hormones like cortisol rise even higher. As you keep increasing that stress, it keeps your sympathetic drive high and reduces your ability to relax. Your thyroid activity is depressed, which messes with your menstrual cycle. Your body also starts storing more belly fat.
So now you’re looking at disrupted menstrual cycles, higher anxiety and stress, impaired performance and often weight gain—pretty much the opposite of what you’re looking for!
The ketogenic diet has very similar effects on women athletes. We hear people rave about the increased mental focus with a keto diet. In men, yes. They have an increase in their parasympathetic (a.k.a. rest and digest) activity, so they can be more relaxed and present. In women, keto kicks up our sympathetic (a.k.a. fight or flight) drive, so we’re more anxious, more prone to being depressed, and we can’t sleep very well, which again hurts our hormonal health, performance, well being, and body composition.
Sometimes women will contend that these diets work so well for them. And they might for the first three months, because nearly any diet will yield some effects in the short term. The long term effects for women athletes, however, is endocrine dysfunction, increases in abdominal fat, more depression, and a backlash of subsequent fat gain.
Women athletes perform far better in a fed state. Women athletes need to eat.
💥 The long term effects of intermittent fasting with exercise for women athletes is endocrine dysfunction, increases in abdominal fat, more depression, and subsequent fat gain.
Pretty much the opposite direction of your goals.
👇🏻LMK What’s your experience with IF?